La Quinta Arts Foundation former visual arts scholar Armando Lerma makes large scale paintings and mixed media works in his studio based in Coachella. He currently has a solo exhibition at Ace Gallery in Los Angeles.
He participated in Desert X earlier this year, creating the mural ‘La Fiesta en el Desierto/Party in the Desert’, which gained praise by art critic Christopher Knight for the Los Angeles Times:
“Lerma’s chosen site on a scruffy industrial strip along railroad tracks looks back to the town’s founding almost a century and a half ago as a siding for the Southern Pacific Railroad. The locale’s modesty reflects the working-class identity of a rough-edged town where more than a quarter of residents live below the poverty line.
Look closely, and the mural sports several small medallions of the Virgin of Guadalupe, saint and protector. In a wry gesture, they are affixed to the wall at places where metal bolts protrude, signaling earthquake retrofitting. Fiesta connects the ice cream store with the town’s largely Latino local population.
Perhaps the mural’s most vital feature is its implied but incisive contrast to that other local “party in the desert” — the raucous, corporately produced, hugely profitable Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival that annually invades the area just up the street in Indio, where the artist was born. Lerma grounds his marvelous mural in the routine social realities of place, yet without so much as a hint of critical disdain for what is finally just a different way for revelers to paint the town.”–Los Angeles Times
He was part of the former art duo the Date Farmers, with Carlos Ramirez. Works by the Date Farmers have been included in prestigious private collections such as those of: Arnold Lehman, Director of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Norman Rosenthal, Exhibitions Secretary of the Royal Academy of Arts in London. The pair has participated in numerous art fairs, in New York, Miami, LA, Chicago, and Stockholm, with International gallery exhibitions in Tokyo and London.
‘Sneaking into the Show’, commissioned by Goldenvoice, premiered at the 2016 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.
Lerma also gained international attention with the project ‘Coachella Walls’, an arts-driven community revitalization project, in collaboration with Medvin Sobio, director of L.A.’s Academy of Street Art.
You can learn more about the Coachella Walls exhibit ‘The Anonymous Farmworker’ online at Google Arts & Culture and view images of second exhibit ‘American Woman’ via Coachella Walls on social media. (@coachellawalls)
Coachella Walls has brought together muralists and international artists who have painted murals throughout the United States, Europe and Latin America. More information, including a map of the Pueblo Viejo walking tour, is available in the visitors section of the city’s website at www.coachella.org.